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University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering

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UH Mechanical Engineering Chairman Honored With ASME Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award

Pradeep Sharma, M.D. Anderson Professor and chair of the mechanical engineering department at the UH Cullen College of Engineering
Pradeep Sharma, M.D. Anderson Professor and chair of the mechanical engineering department at the UH Cullen College of Engineering

Pradeep Sharma, M.D. Anderson Professor and chair of the mechanical engineering department at the UH Cullen College of Engineering, is having a good year. He received the 2019 James R. Rice Medal from the Society of Engineering Science (SES) earlier this year and was recently selected to receive the 2019 Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

The prestigious award is presented to an engineering graduate who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the mechanical engineering field twenty years or more after graduation. ASME is recognizing Sharma for pioneering achievements in using theoretical and computational methods to material behavior as well as leadership in the scientific community.

"This recognition is a singularly humbling experience and once again, I credit it to the wonderful students, post-docs and collaborators I have had," Sharma said.

His research group at the Cullen College uses theoretical and computational methods to understand physical phenomena across multiple disciplines – from materials science to biology. Recent research highlights include the designing of soft multifunctional materials, elucidating why some animals can detect magnetic fields, time-scaling in atomistic simulations and assessing the mechanical behavior of materials used for energy storage.

Sharma graduated with a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1994 from the University of Baroda (India) and then earned his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland at College Park in 2000. Subsequently, he worked as a research scientist for General Electric Corporate R&D. He joined the department of mechanical engineering at the Cullen College in 2004 as a tenure-track assistant professor and has been the chair of the department since 2012.

In addition to several UH teaching and research awards, his past accolades include the 2015 Melville Medal from the ASME and a Fulbright Award in 2013.

Sharma appreciates the support of the Cullen College of Engineering and his department. “I was very fortunate to have been hired into what is arguably one of the most collegial and friendly department in the University. We often underestimate how much our colleagues contribute to our success," he said. "I am very appreciative of the college leadership who have been nothing but supportive in my research despite the administrative expectations as well as my colleagues who are always willing to help in ways small and large." 

The award comes with $1,000, a travel supplement and a commemorative certificate. Sharma will receive the award at the ASME's International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in November in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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